Marine Resources

Canada Protects Critical
Habitat for Eight Species

The government of Canada has signed eight Critical Habitat Orders under the Species at Risk Act. The approved orders will allow for further protection of eight at-risk species, including two whales (the North Atlantic right whale and beluga whale of the St. Lawrence Estuary), three fish species (spotted gar, eastern sand darter, Rocky Mountain sculpin), and one mollusc species (northern abalone). Also approved is the Proposed Critical Habitat Orders of the northern bottlenose whale and the lake chubsucker fish species.

A Critical Habitat Order focuses on protecting specific geographic locations and conditions essential for the survival and recovery of the species, such as where they give birth, hatch, feed or raise their young. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is especially concerned about the plight of the North Atlantic right whale following multiple mortalities in the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the summer of 2017.

The Critical Habitat Order approved for the North Atlantic right whale will provide protection for the whale’s critical habitat in the Grand Manan Basin (Bay of Fundy) and the Roseway Basin (off southwestern Nova Scotia).


Open Ocean, VORTEX Partner
On Offshore Metocean

Open Ocean, which launched Metocean Analytics in 2015 to offer metocean studies on demand, teamed up with Spanish wind expert VORTEX to make Metocean Analytics a complete online solution for site analysis during offshore project development. Metocean Analytics is upgraded by including the SERIES and FARM solutions from VORTEX.

VORTEX is an independent private company that has been providing wind data and analysis to the wind energy sector since 2005.

Metocean Analytics simplifies and accelerates the analysis process for offshore development sites, providing average metocean conditions, extreme value analysis and operating weather windows.


UK Pledges Funds
To Fight Plastic Pollution

The U.K. will use funds from its foreign aid budget to fight plastic pollution in developing countries.

“We’ve all been very concerned by the pictures we’ve seen in recent months of the impact of pollution on marine life, the impact of plastic pollution,” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said, according to UN Environment.

“We are looking at what more we can do and how we can use overseas aid money to ensure we’re… reducing this terrible pollution that is taking place and affecting marine life so devastatingly.”

The details of the U.K.’s pledge have not been announced yet. There are suggestions that the funds should be used on engineering, waste management strategies and innovative technology.

A new study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, revealed that 90 percent of plastic waste entering the oceans comes from just 10 rivers, all in Africa and Asia.


Real-Time Data Reveal
Cause of Algal Bloom

Aptly described as “guacamole soup,” the 2016 algal bloom in Florida’s St. Lucie Estuary prompted a state of emergency in response to mounting health, environmental and economic concerns.

Sea-Bird Scientific’s Dr. Ian Walsh worked alongside scientists from Florida Atlantic University to study the bloom. Using real-time data from a network of land/ocean biogeochemical observatory (LOBO) systems, the scientists were able to determine probable causes of the algal bloom by utilizing real-time broadcasts of salinity, dissolved organic matter and nutrient data to trace the movement of water.

The result: high freshwater discharge from Lake Okeechobee into St. Lucie appeared to be “clogging” the natural exchange of freshwater and seawater, allowing blue-green algae to flourish in the trapped high-phosphate freshwater.

Real-time data can act as a lens to dynamic systems; as conditions change and variables interact with one another, up-to-date access to data is crucial for creating accurate models and making a timely response in a state of emergency. Access to a diverse array of sensors is crucial for piecing together a data-driven story.


Survey on LNG
As Marine Fuel

Over the last 12 months, the ECA regulations have continued to drive many decisions in the LNG market. As new LNG infrastructure became operational, and with further projects in the pipeline, LNG as a marine fuel has seen more traction with new LNG vessels on order.

Oil & Gas IQ surveyed more than 500 LNG specialists involved in the LNG bunkering supply chain to gain a deeper understanding of how the sector is continuing to move forward in challenging market conditions; as well as new opportunities and trends for the coming years.

This survey revealed that while the industry is on the cusp of dramatic change, it isn’t moving forward as fast as original predictions suggested. Slow infrastructure development, the regulatory landscape and competition from alternative fuels are all contributing to the challenges in the sector.

Respondents highlighted that alongside lower costs, technological innovation and partnerships are critical to driving LNG forward as the fuel of the future.


Canada Funds Study of Human Impact on Ocean

Canada is implementing a $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program to help assess the impacts of human activities on the country’s marine ecosystems.

During the coming years, scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and community partners will collect comprehensive baseline data in six areas of the country where there is existing or potential increasing vessel traffic: Port of Vancouver, BC; Port of Prince Rupert, BC; Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, QC; Port of Saint John, NB; and Placentia Bay, NL. The sixth area will be located in the Arctic.

Studying the current state of these areas will enable better detection of changes in the environment and improvement of understanding of the effects of human activity on the marine environment over time. The data collected from this program will be used when making decisions that could impact sensitive marine habitat and species.


$2.1 Million for Tech To Monitor Giant Kelp Farms

One of the most productive organisms on Earth, giant kelp depends on nutrients from the surrounding water column to maintain its photosynthetic apparatus and maximize growth rates, which can reach 1.5 ft. a day. Such prolific growth makes giant kelp an excellent candidate to replace corn as a biofuel. While this species naturally grows close to shore, it easily could be farmed in deeper waters. This is the focus of a new $22 million U.S. Department of Energy project called Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER), which seeks to develop offshore kelp farms to produce kelp biomass as a novel energy source.

A team of UC Santa Barbara scientists will receive $2.1 million over three years from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to develop and test technologies that monitor large-scale giant kelp farms. The team will combine and refine existing technology to enable farm managers to carefully monitor kelp beds and maximize yields.

Catalina Sea Ranch has also received MARINER funding of $450,000 as a prime contractor. The company is also the subcontractor on an additional $1,815,529 award to conduct research at its offshore aquaculture facility for developing a seaweed industry for the U.S. The global commercial seaweeds market was valued at more than $10 billion in 2015 and is expected to exceed $22 billion by 2024.


Underwater Metal Detectors For Multiple Applications

Every day, bodies of water are used for recreational purposes, to supply food and drinking water, to help stock natural resource supplies, and to provide a natural habitat for marine life. Sometimes valued possessions from people become lost in these waters, or these waters are used to discard evidence from a crime scene.

An example of a multipurpose underwater metal detector is JW Fishers SAR-1, designed for use by public safety dive teams, law enforcement agencies and military units that need to locate metal objects in underwater environments with poor visibility. The Miramar Police Department Dive Recovery Team utilizes the JW Fishers Pulse 8X with a 10-in. coil. TerraAquatic Inc., specializing in hydrographic surveying, also recently purchased a handheld underwater metal detector from JW Fishers.


QARTOD Updates Manual for Ocean Optics Observations QC

The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Quality Assurance/Quality Control of Real-Time Oceanographic Data (QARTOD) Project has updated the “Manual for Real-Time Quality Control of Ocean Optics Observations,” which includes variables such as in-water and above-water radiance and irradiance, beam attenuation, PAR (photosynthetically available radiation) and CDOM (colored dissolved organic matter).

The content for this and other QARTOD data quality control manuals originates with a diverse community of ocean-observing experts with extensive knowledge of the variable being addressed.